If you’ve been looking for employment for awhile, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be. You may even be to the point where you’re wondering if you’re doing something wrong.
There are a lot of different opinions as to the best way to go about it. None are necessarily wrong, but there are things you can do to maximize your chance of finding the right job in such a competitive market.
Over the past few months, I’ve had to work through my own job hunting dilemma. I’m not new to the job search world, but I was set in my ways as to how to go about it.
Thanks to the advice of others, I’ve learned that sometimes you have to step out of the usual rut of just emailing your resume in response to job openings.
Here are several tips that proved extremely helpful to me and may be just what you need to ramp up your employment search.
Before you even start job hunting, it’s important to make sure your resume is in tip-top shape.
1) Make certain there are no spelling or grammar errors on your resume. Even if you aren’t applying for a job where spelling and grammar are important, a poorly written resume gives the impression that you’re careless and not detail-oriented which is a red flag to an employer.
2) If you aren’t good at writing in a way to effectively “sell yourself”, have your resume done professionally. Just make sure that you read over everything and that the final product describes YOU and your actual skills.
Many resume writers embellish to the point that the resume is no longer an accurate representation of what you have accomplished. You never want to lie on your resume! Chances are an employer will find out after they hire you, if not sooner. You won’t be happy and neither will they when they discover, on the job, that you do not have the skills you claimed you did.
3) Keep it concise and easy to read. Your resume should not be an exhaustive list of job responsibilities. A potential employer is not going to read through a page crammed full of paragraphs of text.
Keep it to a maximum of 2 pages. List your major accomplishments, and do it in a succinct, easy-to-read way, so that an employer can pick out the important information quickly. Keep in mind that an employer usually only spends a few seconds scanning over a resume, so a bulleted list works well for this.
4) Ask around. Although the internet is a great place to look for job opportunities, keep in mind that many jobs are never posted. Some opportunities you’ll only ever find through word-of-mouth, so make sure your friends and family know that you’re in need of employment. They may know of jobs that will never be posted publicly, and being referred by someone you know can sometimes give you a leg-up on the competition.
5) Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of working with a staffing agency. The greatest benefit to using a staffing agency is that they WILL get your resume in front of a hiring manager if they have positions that you’re qualified for.
That’s a huge advantage over applying for jobs online or through the newspaper. In those situations, you’re likely to be one of hundreds of applicants, and there’s a good possibility that your resume will sit in a pile and never be seen.
Most people think of them as “temporary agencies”, but that is not always the case. They get plenty of contract-to-hire opportunities, and that temporary job may turn into a permanent one down the line if you prove to the employer that you’re an asset to their company.
In addition, some staffing agencies also offer benefits such as medical insurance and 401K, which makes them a worthwhile option until you’re able to land a permanent position.
6) Start making phone calls. If a job ad includes a phone number, call and talk to someone instead of just emailing your resume. When you have the ability to do so, pick up the phone and speak with someone.
That makes it more personal, because your resume isn’t just one sitting in a huge stack anymore. You’ve now become a real person to someone in that employer’s office, which can be invaluable. Most people will not call, so this is one way to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
7) Be patient. Yes, it may take awhile before you start hearing from employers, but if you have resumes posted on job boards just as Monster, CareerBuilder, and Dice, you will eventually start hearing from recruiters. You may hear nothing for a long time, but you’ll probably find that when it rains, it pours. Before you know it, you’ll have more recruiters contacting you than you ever expected.
8) Research the company. Before your interview, do some homework on the company. Learn a little about what the organization does. Interviewers like it when you ask specific questions. That tells them that you were willing to invest time and effort before the interview.
You may also want to check out the company on Glassdoor. The site provides a great deal of information on many companies, including salaries, employee reviews of the company, and even questions that others were asked at their interview. All of these things can give you an idea of what to expect at your interview and a glimpse of what it’s like working for the company.
Keep in mind that most people only write reviews when they’re unhappy, so take the negative reviews with a grain of salt. However, if you notice many employees complaining about the same things, those may very well be legitimate issues that you’d want to take into consideration before accepting a position at the company.
9) Dress for success! Regardless of the type of job, always dress professionally. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and you want it to be a great one. For most jobs, you can never go wrong with wearing a business suit. It’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.
10) Don’t get rattled by strange interview questions. If you get thrown a curve-ball at the interview, do NOT ask what the question has to do with anything or why the interviewer is asking! Sometimes they aren’t as concerned with whether or not you give the “right” answer as they are with how you react to the question.
They may be trying to determine if you can roll with the punches. Just take a second to think about the question, and then answer it the best you can. Not all of these things are deal breakers, they may just be gauging your reaction to being put in an unexpected situation.
11) Relax and stay confident. Sometimes an interview can feel like you’re on trial, especially in panel interviews where you’re meeting with multiple people at once. Even though you might feel intimated, just remember that the interviewers are people just like you. They may be a bit nervous as well. It’s easier to come across confident when you’re relaxed.
12) Take notes while you’re in the interview. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in what they’re telling you. It’s also helpful to refer to later if you get hired.
13) Always send a thank you note or email immediately after the interview. This let’s the interviewer(s) know that you’re genuinely interested in the position and that you appreciate them taking the time to consider you. Many people don’t do this, so it can give you an advantage.
14) Prepare to negotiate. If you receive an offer that isn’t what you were hoping for, all isn’t necessarily lost. Remember that fringe benefits can be worth their weight in gold, so always take benefits into account when you’re considering an overall compensation package.
If you really do feel that the offer isn’t something you can work with and you have the skills, experience, and education to justify a higher wage, don’t be afraid to try to negotiate. All they can do is say no.
Just remember to express how interested you are in working for them, then respectfully explain why you feel a higher wage is warranted. If they say no, you can also try to negotiate an agreement where they will review your performance in 3 or 6 months for a possible wage increase after you’ve proven yourself.
Job hunting can be difficult, but the good news is that it gets easier the more you do it. Practice makes perfect, and that goes for interviewing too.
For that reason, it’s good to go to interviews even for jobs you don’t think you’re interested in. It will help to prepare you and build your confidence so you’re ready when you do get the call for your dream job.
Good luck and happy job hunting!
Written By Melissa S. | Friend Melissa S. on Facebook | Join The Forum
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